Romance blossoms in Messina when well-meaning friends decide to match up Benedick and Beatrice, a bachelor and a maid with a history of mutual word-wars. The plot thickens when Claudio (one of the friends) begins to doubt his own beloved's faithfulness. Will the evil Don John succeed in his attempts to thwart true love?
The play is written from a largely Christian worldview, though not with any kind of Christian purpose. Bad characters are bad, and good characters are--by and large--good. Characters challenge one another to duels in order to avenge wrongs, but these duels are never carried out.
The priest in this story is a strong character and is sincerely good. Some Roman gods are referenced - Jove, Cupid, and Venus are a few - but in classical, not religious, terms; it is clear that no reverence is shown them. There's no religious disrespect shown, but no deep spiritual meaning either.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Wine is drunk.
One of the subplots has to do with alleged sexual immorality, and entails a man accusing his betrothed in strong language. One character is an illegitimate son (the word b-----d is used). See Crude Language.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Several bawdy jokes are made, especially towards the beginning, and there are a few mild oaths. Many of these are hard to understand from a modern perspective, and there are fewer in this play than in many of Shakespeare's other comedies.
If you're looking for something lighter to beguile away a rainy afternoon, this play should be your first choice. The romance is tender and hilarious by turns, and you'll clap when love wins over jealousy. Of course it is impossible to have Shakespeare without bawdiness, but all in all, there is less of it here than one expects from his romantic comedies.